The Obama Administration proposed the banning of electronic cigarette from all airline flights in the United States late last year though this ban has yet to be implemented. It is their opinion that smokeless cigarettes are actually harmful. Although the U.S Department of Transport have not banned the product on planes outright, they believe this alternative to smoking should not be allowed on flights. In February 2012, a man was detained on a flight from Portland, Oregon for refusing to switch off his e-cigarette.
Reasoning behind the proposed ban
Obama administration representative Ray LaHood said in a statement that “Airline passengers have rights, and this new rule would enhance passenger comfort and reduce any confusion surrounding the use of the electronic cigarette on flights.”
Ban makes sense says administration
There is already an existing ban on the smoking of tobacco products by the Transportation Department. Passengers are not allowed to smoke any tobacco products on planes. The new proposal against the electronic cigarette would apply to all domestic airline flights and even flights outside of the United States or foreign carriers. There have even been talks that the ban could extend to charter flights.
The argument against the ban
The electronic cigarette is designed to deliver a nicotine fix to a smoker in the form of vapor. These products are powered by a lithium ion battery. Industry representatives for the electronic cigarette argue that their products do not represent harm to the public if they are used in close proximity to them.
Ray Story, chief executive of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said that “Everyone knows when you are smoking on an airplane that is a no-no. But this is not smoking, this is vaping.” He argues that what the Transportation Department is asking for does not make any sense.
Arguments from the Transportation Department
The argument presented by the Transportation Department is that there is no scientific data which confirms the safety of the ingredients in the electronic cigarette. The Air Force surgeon general also issued a memorandum last year telling people that certain ingredients in the product could be harmful. An example of this is diethylene glycol which is a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. The surgeon general said that the electronic cigarette could also contain other carcinogenic agents.